Many Chelsea fans are still vocally upset at what they believe was the unjustified treatment Roberto Di Matteo received. Chants of support could still be heard during the 16th minute in Yokohama today. In this article I would like to voice my opinion as to why the decision was made to relive him of his duties and why it was the only possible outcome.
The good news is that RMD should, and will, live long in Cheslea folklore as the Manager that won the club’s first Champions league title. His Legend is in stone and we thank him greatly. He will move onwards and upwards – his time in charge of the Blues certainly saw his stock rise . We wish him the best of luck.
To begin to understand why RDM was fired we need to go back to the last hard decision that Roman made – the firing of AVB.
At that time dressing room was a disaster, mirrored by our form on the pitch. Something had to be done. Our illustrious owner acted swiftly and acknowledged his mistake in hiring the young and largely unproven Portuguese. I’m sure you all agree, THIS decision was the major catalyst for our Champions League victory. The speed with which Roman was forced to bring AVB’s tenure to a end meant there was not enough time to formulate Plan B. Di Matteo was the only option. I’m sure Abramovich got the Terry-Lampard-Cole triumvirate vote of confidence in the appointment of RDM as interim boss.
Hitting the fast forward button ……We won the CL and also the FA cup for good measure. Most importantly, the chart of the Chelsea Brand was on a vertical trajectory. Roman’s vision of Global recognition – creating a fashionable, formidable Chelsea , fitting of its SW6 address – was entering a new phase.
Perhaps the best example of the CFC love-in was seen in Gary Neville. The old arch-rival was now our biggest supporter. Although an insightful pundit , The Neviller was only the messenger. Football fans of all denominations had a newfound respect for The Blues; gone were the broadsides about the limitless funds and individual egos.
Chelsea were now fitting representatives of all things good from The English Premier League.
Roman also decided to make additional funds available for the next stage of the club’s metamorphosis . It was time for his beloved team to start playing the beautiful game. The Hazard and Oscar signings made those intentions clear.
I am sure he fully intended to replace RDM before the start of the 12/13 season. But something happened which caused him to change his mind. Pep Guardiola, the man he always coveted for the job, surprisingly resigned from Barcelona. The Spaniard, citing personal reasons for his actions, was taking a year off from the game. He moved his family to New York for educational benefits and much needed R&R. He could also live in relative anonymity.
Roman made the key decision that hiring any other high profile manager would hinder efforts to sign Pep. He would not be able to fly to the Big Apple making overtures to Guardiola if he had just hired a Big Name coach. Di Matteo would have understood this before accepting an extension to his tenure as interim boss.
Considering what we discussed above, The CHELSEA brand was now entering a critical period in its Global development. Therefore Roman took a big risk in leaving the stewardship of the club under RDM for the coming season.
Let’s discuss that risk: If Arsenal and Arsene Wenger parted company tomorrow, would you consider RDM an appropriate replacement at the Emirates? Putting our love and loyalty aside, is his resume of MK Dons, WBA and 6 months as interim at CFC strong enough for the Gunners to give him their Job? I think not.
We must therefore acknowledge he would not be considered by the boards of Manchester United, Manchester City or either of the Spanish Giants and therefore one would have to include Chelsea in that list! Roman has too much invested, we are too big a club now. In his eyes, RDM was always a stepping stone to Pep.
We now have to discuss why RDM lost his job before Pep is ready to sign on the dotted line. The reason was the Mark Clattenburg debacle.
The club, already reeling from the John Terry racism affair, was in danger of destroying all the goodwill created by the achievements on the pitch. To put it in simple terms, Roman fired RDM because, as Manager, he should never have allowed Mikel to act in haste and confront Clattenburg without being granted club approval. In hindsight, the ramifications of the player’s actions were obvious considering the hostile environment that JT ‘s guilty verdict had created.
Can you imagine Sir Alex Ferguson allowing Nani to knock on the Referee’s dressing room door given a similar situation?
Roman’s risk on the inexperienced RDM had backfired. He had no choice but to dismiss him. The fact that it was not on the spot was out respect for RDM’s achievements and should not be put down to the poor run of form following that fateful day. Roman had already made his mind up. Our leader also realized the reaction he would get from the Blues Fans. He had no choice and also only had himself to blame.
As far as appointing Rafa, there are a few reasons. Benitez speaks Spanish, as do half our team . He has a great relationship with Torres, which does seem to be yielding some improvement. Importantly, he has the level of experience necessary to control the players, helped by the fact that Abramovich has now outlawed player power. He was also unemployed and Roman could secure his services quickly without extensive contractual back and forth.
Rafa has taken the job with the full knowledge that Roman will continue his fishing expedition for the Big Kahuna.
Roman is sticking to plan A. It’s the only one he has and he is not going to take no for an answer from Pep.
In summary, we the Fans need to back down from any protests and move on. CHELSEA FOOTBALL CLUB needs solidarity at this time. I hope we all agree that the last 10 years has been a lot of fun. Roman knows what he is doing. Let’s show him and the people he appoints the respect they deserve.